Press Play is a new segment on our blog where we will be highlighting the spirit of our video content partners. To break the ice, this month we talked with the Co-Founders of the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: Artistic Director Alberto Lopez and Managing Director Juan Castano. Their studio is located in East Elmhurst, Queens, and you can find their videos at http://nyxt.nyc/calpulli/
How did you start working with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company?
We founded Calpulli Mexican Dance Company in October 2013. This year is our quinceañera! We had worked with several companies and local folk dance groups, and we wanted to pursue our own vision for Mexican Folk Dance traditions in NYC. It is and was important for us to create an organization that created high-quality Artistic works and served our community. We invited previous collaborators -dancers, choreographers and musicians- to be part of our nonprofit organization, and Calpulli hasn’t looked back since.
How do your personal goals and passions merge with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company's vision?
Artistic Director, Alberto Lopez: I began dancing and garment-making at a young age and my talents and experience show in each of Calpulli’s works and performances.
Managing Director Juan Castano: I am also a dancer with the company and I bring my expertise in management to the organization.
What are some great Mexican and Latin musicians that you would recommend?
There are so many but just to name a few, we love Sones de Mexico, based out of Chicago, Tlen Huicani from Veracruz is mesmerizing, and of course Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan is amazing. Locally, Calpulli has collaborated with Mariachi Flor de Toloache and the Villalobos Brothers, and we have all grown together. Most recently, Calpulli performed with Lila Downs at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, and we love her unique take on traditional songs as well as her original works.
Other than Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, what organizations here in NYC do you support?
Again, many organizations in NYC do great work both in the arts and non-arts that impact our work, and we will name just a few. From a cultural and educational perspective, Materials for the Arts has helped Calpulli and many artists with donated fabrics, trimmings, and much more and we can’t thank them enough. We love the annual events by Mano a Mano Mexican Culture without Borders and the Queensborough Dance Festival. Of course there are many venues we love and partner with, including Queens Theatre, Flushing Town Hall, Thalia Spanish Theatre, the Count Basie Theatre, and El Museo del Barrio. Also Spaceworks is creating space for artists across NYC and they did just that for Calpulli and allowed us to flourish in their studios. From a service perspective, DanceNYC (with whom Juan Castano is an Advisory Committee member) provides our dance community with real data and advocacy. These are just a few.
What is next for Calpulli Mexican Dance Company and how can people get involved?
Calpulli has a busy summer of performances! We will be at Summer Stage for the first time at Queensbridge Park on July 13, on Broadway at the New Victory Theatre at the end of July, and then at Jacob’s Pillow festival in Massachusetts. People can get involved by contacting us online, attending an event, and engaging with us on social media. We often look for volunteers, so if individuals want to support Calpulli's mission, please contact us and let us know about you! Our website is CalpulliDance.org. Gracias!
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